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Blacksburg, Virginia Tech jump on Obama's high-speed Internet initiative

Blacksburg, Va., and Virginia Tech University have have become members of US Ignite, an Obama administration initiative launched last June to develop new ways to put high-speed broadband to use.  

“Virginia Tech and Blacksburg have joined US Ignite as a way of … supporting the concept that there is a need to develop new ways to leverage gigabit connectivity,” said Brenda van Gelder, a technology director for Blacksburg Electronic Village, a joint initiative of the town and university that was one of the first community broadband efforts.

Currently Virginia Tech and Blacksburg are supporting technology entrepreneurs such as TechPad, which is working on new applications to be used with high-speed broadband.

Plans are under way to enhance the broadband infrastructure in the downtown area to enable greater participation in high-speed network connectivity for citizens and businesses.

The US Ignite Partnership, formed last year, is a member-funded nonprofit organization of more than 100 companies, government organizations and universities intended to facilitate development of innovative technologies that will use next-generation, high-speed, high-capacity networks. US Ignite is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

TechPad CEO and founder Bob Summers, of Blacksburg, has received funding for his advanced fitness app, KinectHealth, from the Mozilla Ignite Challenge, part of the US Ignite initiative. KinectHealth3D is a fitness Xbox game that enables anytime, anywhere fitness with peer groups.

Other government agencies around the country are developing applications to take advantage of high-speed Internet. In July, Kansas City, the site of Google’s first gigabit-speed fiber broadband network, announced that Kansas City Public Library is developing a high-speed Software Lending Library that will allow users to “check out” applications hosted by the library. The project is being done with the help of the Mozilla Ignite Challenge, part of the US Ignite initiative. The library hopes to offer high end (and often expensive and bandwidth-hogging) productivity software such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premier for free.

Blacksburg technology entrepreneurs interested in getting involved with the initiative can email van Gelder at bneidigh@vt.edu

Posted by Kathleen Hickey on Aug 15, 2013 at 9:22 AM


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